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form of government to public view, if advice so carry it, at this season, because I do believe it to be a divine institution of a civil government, and seemeth to me to be such as will well suit the present condition of England, Scotland, and Ireland, or any other religious people in the world, . . . . . the time being come that the Lord is about to shake all the earth, and throw down that great idol of human wisdom in governments, and set up Scripture government in the room thereof.” Eliot's abilities and good deserts were in the department of the Christian ministry, and not in that of statesmanship. There is no evidence, and little likelihood, that this book received any attention; but, the more obscure it was, the more acceptable at court would be the vigilance of that colonial government, which, by detecting and censuring it, purged itself from any sympathy with the vagaries of Wenner. The Magistrates, “taking notice” of it, found it “full of seditious principles and lon. notions in regard to all established governments ** in the Christian world, especially against the government established in their native country;” but they deferred proceedings in relation to it to the next General Court.” It is natural to suppose that Eliot took no special pride in his performance, viewed in the light of altered circumstances, and after the experience of “nine or ten years;” and, with every disposition to be steadfast to his convictions, whatever they were, it was impossible for him to forget that the life of the Corporation for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians was at this moment dependent on the royal indulgence. He made a written acknowledgment of the ill tendency of the treatise. “Upon perusal thereof.” he said, “I do judge myself to have offended; and in way of satisfaction, not only to the authority of this jurisdiction, but also unto any others that shall take notice thereof, I do hereby acknowledge to this honored Court, such expressions as do too manifestly scandalize the government of England by King, Lords, and Commons as Antichristian, and justify the late innovators, I do sincerely bear testimony against; and acknowledge it to be, not only a lawful, but an eminent form of government.” The Court ordered that the acknowledgment should be recorded, that the book should be “totally suppressed,” and that all copies of it within the jurisdiction should be “cancelled and defaced,” or delivered to a magistrate." It has been mentioned that the Navigation Act of the Commonwealth had been permitted to remain inoperative in respect to New England.” The General Court of Massachusetts reasonably apprehended difficulty from the execution of the more rigorous law passed in the year of the restoration of the King.” It was probably not without a view to guard against attacks which it might draw upon them from the commercial interest in England, that they repealed certain laws which had hitherto made their harbors free to “all ships which came for trading only from other parts,” and authorized the Governor for the time being, by himself and such officer as he should appoint, “to take effectual course that bonds be taken of all shipmasters coming hither, as that Act [the Navigation Act] required, and returns made, as was there required, to his Majesty's customs, before they had liberty to depart, that so this country might not be under the least neglect of their duty to his Majesty's just commands.” Any departure from the provisions of their charter was likely, in the new circumstances, to attract unfriendly attention in England; and they thought it prudent to enact, “that the law limiting the nomination of but fourteen Assistants be henceforth repealed, and that the freemen be at liberty to choose eighteen Assistants, as the patent hath ordained.” In practice, however, no alteration was made. The same Court appointed a day of public thanksgiving for “the many favors wherewith,” as the vote expresses it, “the Lord hath been pleased to com-po, pass us about for so many years past in this gainston. remote wilderness, and in special the gracious o answer that he hath given us to our late suppli- “ cation and humbling of ourselves before Him, in giving us favor in the eyes and heart of our sovereign lord the King, expressed in his gracious acceptance and answer of our late Address to his Majesty.” The following vote, constituting the last entry in the Journal of the session, indicates the result of deliberations which must have been anxiously held from its beginning to its close : – “Forasmuch as the present condition of our affairs in highest concernments calls for a diligent and speedy use of the best means seriously to discuss, and rightly to understand, our liberty and duty, thereby to beget unity
* Christian Commonwealth, &c., Praef, 3, 35. * Hutchinson, History, I. 195.
* Mass. Rec. IV. (ii.) 5, 6.-It was impossible for Eliot not to feel how particularly important it was, at this time, to what had become the great object of his life, that he should not be under a cloud at court. His translation of the New Testament, which was to be dedicated to the King (see above, p. 446, note 1), and to be commended to the favor of some of the statesmen and divines about him, was almost ready for publication. And in the Dedication prefixed to it, the translation of the Old Testament, which appeared in 1663, is said to be already in the printer's hands. Solarge an expense as was thus incurred could not be met without liberal patronage in England.
To the Indian Bible, when completed, were appended a Catechism, and a version in the same language of the metrical paraphrase of the Book of Psalms. To the translations of each of
the two great divisions of the Scrip-
amongst ourselves in the due observance of obedience and fidelity unto the authority of England and our own just privileges; — for the effecting whereof it is ordered by this Court, that Mr. Simon Bradstreet, Mr. Samuel Symonds, Major-General Denison, Mr. Danforth, Major William Hawthorne, Captain Thomas Savage, Captain Edward Johnson, Captain Eliazer Lusher, Mr. Mather, Mr. Norton, Mr. Cobbet, and Mr. Mitchell be, and hereby are, appointed a committee, immediately after the dissolution or adjournment of the Court, to meet together in Boston on second day next, at twelve of the clock, to consider and debate such matter or thing of public concernment touching our patent, laws, privileges, and duty to his Majesty, as they in their wisdom shall judge most expedient, and draw up the result of their apprehensions, and present the same to the next session for consideration and approbation, that so (if the will of God be) we may speak and act the same thing, becoming prudent, honest, conscientious, and faithful men.” The four persons first named on this Committee were Magistrates; the next four were respectively Deputies from Salem, Boston, Woburn, and Dedham; the last four were the ministers of Dorchester, Boston, Ipswich, and Cambridge. At a special session of the General Court, held after an interval of only a few days, the Committee made a report, which was “allowed and approved.” It was signed for them by Thomas Danforth, who was probably its author, and who from this time occupied for thirty years a large space in the public view.” The document is too important to admit of its being incorporated into this narrative in only a description or an abridgment. We learn from it what was the approved theory respecting the relations of the local government to the empire; and it indicates that, if the public courage had been shaken at any time, its tone had been restored by the recent consultations. “I. Concerning our Liberties. “1. We conceive the patent (under God) to be the first and main foundation of our civil polity here, by a Governor and Company, according as is therein expressed. “2. The Governor and Company are, by the patent, a body politic, in fact and name. “3. Th .body politic is vested with power to make freemen. “4. These freemen have power to choose annually a Governor, Deputy-Governor, Assistants, and their select representatives or Deputies. “5. This government hath also to set up all sorts of officers, as well superior as inferior, and point out their power and places. “6. The Governor, Deputy-Governor, Assistants, and select representatives or Deputies, have full power and authority, both legislative and executive, for the government of all the people here, whether inhabitants or strangers, both concerning ecclesiastics and in civils, without appeal, excepting law or laws repugnant to the laws of England. “7. The government is privileged by all fitting means (yea, and, if need be, by force of arms) to defend themselves, both by land and sea, against all such person or persons as shall at any time attempt or enterprise the destruction, invasion, detriment, or annoyance of this plantation, or the inhabitants therein; besides other privileges mentioned in the patent, not here expressed. “8. We conceive any imposition, prejudicial to the country, contrary to any just law of ours not repug
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii) 24. town in 1657 and 1658 (Ibid., IV. (i.)
* Thomas Danforth, born at Framlingham, in Suffolk, in 1622, came, with his father, Nicholas, to New England, in 1634, when the family settled in Cambridge. He became a freeman in 1643 (Mass. Rec., II. 293); was a Deputy in the General Court for that
287, 321); and in the following year (Ibid., 364) was chosen an Assistant, in which office he continued for twenty years, till promoted to be Deputy-Governor. In the charter of 1650, he was named Treasurer of Harvard College, which office he held eighteen years.